A member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) died in an “accident” at his home in recent days, Iran’s official IRNA agency reported on Friday, following a report that the IRGC killed one of its officers over suspicions of espionage.
“In the past few days, an IRGC member lost his life in an accident in his house, the cause of which is under investigation,” IRNA reported early on Friday, citing an “informed source.”
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IRNA’s report came hours after Iran International, a London-based, Persian-language satellite news channel reported, citing unnamed sources, that the IRGC recently killed one of its officers, Colonel Ali Esmailzadeh, after he was suspected of espionage.
While confirming an IRGC member had died under unclear circumstances in recent days, IRNA’s source denied Iran International’s report, describing it as “a psychological war and false news.”
Iran International reported that Esmailzadeh died on Monday “after falling from the roof of his house” in the city of Karaj, west of the capital Tehran. IRGC officials have told Esmailzadeh’s family that he committed suicide, the report said.
Esmailzadeh was a “close associate” of IRGC Colonel Sayyad Khodaei, who was assassinated in a gun attack in Tehran on May 22, it added.
The IRGC’s intelligence wing had accused Esmailzadeh of involvement in Khodaei’s assassination by leaking information to foreign intelligence services, the report said, adding that the IRGC ultimately decided to kill Esmailzadeh by staging his suicide.
Iran has vowed to take revenge for the assassination of Khodaei. The head of the IRGC blamed “the Zionists” – a reference to Israel – for his killing.
The New York Times reported last week that Israel had told the US it was behind Khodaei’s assassination.
Israeli media said Khodaei had organised attacks against Israelis abroad.